Sunday, 9 July 2017

Travel | Barford luxury family holiday home in Cornwall

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
Barford with its wood-fired hot tub

‘I knew the family who used to live in that house!’ grinned my friend as we chatted in the school playground. She’d run after me to tell me, having seen a picture of Barford I’d posted on Instagram. ‘He was at school with me and always used to boast he had his own beach. We thought he was joking.’ No joke. Barford really does overlook a beautiful secluded beach. But that’s not even its most impressive feature. Really!

A few weeks ago, we spent the most relaxing, fun and, frankly, fancy couple of days in a luxury holiday home in North Cornwall. Barford is a newly-built, modern house tucked away along the coast between Widemouth Bay and Crackington Haven. Sleeping 16, this is one designed for big family parties, reunions, even weddings - its size is a virtue rather than a necessity as so often with these places, with no corners cut and absolutely zero hint of catering-sized anything. All the bedrooms sit at the back of the house ensuring that the view is shared and enjoyed equally. The huge reclaimed Persian oak dining table sits at the heart of the house, again with those incredible views, again designed for the best kind of shared experience.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
A huge reclaimed oak table sits at the heart of this luxury holiday home in Cornwall

Ken and Illona Aylmer are the brains behind Barford as well as a couple of other places to stay in Cornwall (Pentire - a penthouse for 8 in Fistral Beach; Tregulland - a farmhouse for 22 near Bodmin Moor). This one is an actual family home, designed around the needs of Ken and Illona and their three kids, and with a playful, eclectic, industrial luxe aesthetic.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
Looking out to sea - the surf of Wanson Mouth beach

The bedrooms are fondly known as ‘Leo’s room’ etc, and anyone with children will see that kids are welcomed rather than merely tolerated here - think toys, family DVDs in the cinema room, major fun to be had in the games bunker (more on that later) and even a secret Narnia-esque wardrobe that links two bedrooms.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
One of Barford's six gorgeous bedrooms overlooking the beach

With their floor-to-ceiling glass doors that lead out onto a wooden terrace wrapped around the top floor, the bedrooms are all oriented towards that Wanson Mouth sea view. But that doesn’t mean the bathrooms should be overlooked. Five of the six bedrooms are en-suite, with the remaining separate bathroom having pages of Alice in Wonderland pasted on the walls - an unexpected injection of humour. Huge hotel-quality superkings with Moroccan tasselled throws keep tired parents rested while the bunkbeds are the stuff of dreams for little ones - there’s a double platform bed high up in the eaves in one room, plus a rustic, generous bunk in another.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
A beautiful Barford bathroom

But the most enviable, incredible, beyond all comprehension room is the 50m2 master suite. It’s huge. Larger than most studio flats, this palatial almost-wing features another giant bed of dreams, a fireplace with a pair of leopard-print armchairs, a separate kitchen area (or cocktail bar, depending on your temperament) and a bathroom to die for. Here, you have the unenviable decision to make between a soak in the huge, brass slipper bath or a rainforest shower under one of the two dinner-plate-sized shower heads facing each other in this extraordinary slate-lined wet room. I’m not sure how you’re going to decide who sleeps here. Flip a gold bar or something.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
The mini kitchen/cocktail bar area - part of the master suite

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
That bath! The master en suite and its brass tub

Back downstairs, the well-designed, open plan kitchen, dining room and living room share the reclaimed aesthetic that runs throughout the house. The AGA lends a homely charm to the more stark, copper-lined kitchen walls, and the space is large enough for several cooks to avoid spoiling the broth. A rabble of mismatched chairs line that dining table, while the living area has several little zones making a quiet read possible amid the chaos of family life.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
The copper-lined kitchen and AGA

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
The luxurious living room area

If you really want some me-time then Barford delivers here, too. Head downstairs - next door to the cinema room is a sauna or take a glass of something bubbly out to the wood-fired hot tub to watch the surfers catch some waves. Again, making the most of the sea view, the hot tub sits alongside an old fishing boat, once part of artist Luke Jerram’s 2015 piece, Withdrawn. Back inside, duck down and head through the rabbithole-like tunnel to the games bunker. It seems a shame to spoil the surprise of these unexpected rooms so I’ll just say that it reminded me of a modern version of those basements that always looked so cool in 1970s American comedies, complete with pinball machines, a pool table and a bar.

Barford, Cornwall - luxury holiday rental for families and big groups
Barford gardens with a Luke Jerram boat out back!

Our stay was practically perfect in every way. There is little more you could add to Barford to improve the experience - the house is beautiful, functional and fun, while the location gives the Cornish Tourist Board the day off. We headed down to Boscastle, the pretty little harbour that suffered terrible flooding back in 2004. Now completely restored, it’s National Trust through and through, and you can scoff pasties and fudge to your heart’s content. But don’t miss the Museum of Witchcraft if, like us, you’re into creepy folklore. A bit like a baby version of the Pitt Rivers in Oxford, this tiny museum is one of the most interesting places you could hope to tiptoe into.

Back at Barford, we dressed for dinner but we left our shoes off. It’s just that kind of place - luxury but with a family feel.

And that’s just the kind of place I like.


About Barford, luxury holiday rental in Cornwall


Barford is available for holiday rentals.
Rates start at £2,014 for three nights (low season) or £4,800 for a week’s stay, increasing to £8,000 for a week (high season) for the whole beach house sleeping 16 guests, although there is a 20% discount on all bookings this month.
To book go to www.tregullandandco.co.uk or call 01566 770 880.


Disclosure:
We were invited as guests to review Barford but all words and thoughts are our own.
Images are all © Barford/Brett Symes.
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